Posted 3/11/10 by Marcia Stepanek on Cause Global
We’ve all heard about green-washing, what Urban Dictionary defines as “when companies pretend to be environmentally friendly — when in fact they are not.” Now there’s a new term — cause-washing — that’s being used with increasing frequency in the blogosphere to describe inauthentic marketing-for-good.
To talk about this and other new trends and challenges in the worlds of corporate responsibility and social enterprise, I sat down recently with the popular Harvard Business School marketing professor V. Kasturi Rangan, who moderated a panel in February on the subject at Harvard’s Social Enterprise Conference 2010. Rangan says he worries a lot about how some causes may be considered a better “sell” than others. He also says he thinks it will soon become critical for companies involved in cause-branding to start proving social impact amid an increasingly cause-crowded marketplace — but adds that few firms are, as yet, up to the challenge.